SirBryghtside Finally Reviews: VVVVVV

VVVVVV

A 9000th post thingy!

image

VVVVVV is, at first glance, a cute little platformer, with 8-bit graphics, a chippy retro soundtrack, and a sweet little blue guy at the helm.

But the truth is so much more terrifying.

Underneath the retro, cheerful exterior, there lies a minimalistic delight on par with some of the most challenging games I've ever played.

imageAfter a small plot starter where your ship gets screwed up and you get thrown through a teleporter into another dimension, you take up the role of Captain Viridian trying to save his five friends from the weirdness of the place. The only power he has is to flip, and this single technique is all you get throughout the game. There are no power ups, no Varia Suits, and no Fairy Bows - what you are at the start is what you are at the end. And this is where VVVVVV really comes into its own - with only four different obstacles (spikes, conveyor belts, flippers and moving enemies), the game has no right to be as hard as it is. And that's probably why it's so good. Almost every task is so simplistic that you can know the solution in seconds, meaning that the entirety of the challenge is lent to the execution. According to my end screen, I ended up with over 1300 deaths overall, with around 250 on a single stage. I know what that single stage was, and it took me around half an hour - but not once did I feel frustrated. The music, visuals and minimalism absorb you into this impossible world, and after every achievement, I promise you'll feel epic. Checkpoints are thrown out all over the place too, so finishing a stage will mean you actually finish it, and won't have to do it ever again, so the game only occasionally lets itself down when the set-pieces are mostly beyond your control - this shows up a few times, but nowhere near enough to spoil the game.

imageSo, the gameplay is a gem. And it's a highly polished gem - because the story, while simplistic, is really cute - each of the six main characters have their own personality (Violet worries a lot, Vermillion likes exploring, etc.) providing a stark contrast to the seventh, and most highly developed character - the game itself. The retro aesthetic warps you into a surreal world not seen since the days when Mario was called Jumpman, which means that you can very easily get hooked. Then there's the dark humour - this is sometimes portrayed through the level design itself, but mostly thorough the names of the levels that have been lovingly pasted on to each screen. This helps the game a lot, and while you're failing to do a triple-flip-over-5-spike-pits combo, can be something to keep you from turning steadily insane. Overall, the atmosphere is, put simply, Portal-esque.[1]

The game, despite its mind crushing difficulty, is actually very short - it took me ~2 hours to complete for the first time. But it also has replayability, and then some. After the first runthrough, where your main objective is to get through the game, you can replay it to get all the trinkets. This is where all the puzzles that Cavanagh thought were too horrible for the original game come in - and they are hard. Occasionally with puzzles to solve, but mostly with insane spike hurricanes to navigate (just look at Veni Vidi Vici, the most impossible challenge in the game).[2] This unlocks the secret lab, which in turn unlocks a bunch of other cool stuff, like trophies, time trials and the Super Gravitron, which are all great... 'fun' to play through one more time.

To wrap it up:

VVVVVV is a unique game that takes common platformer elements and mixes them together into something altogether new, and extremely hard. But it also bypasses the 'Fun games must be easy' rule, and makes itself into the hardcore gamer's dream, and the extras that come on top of that really make it worth the money. If you're looking for a challenge, or really enjoy retro games, then buy VVVVVV. If you don't fit into either of those categories, then... buy it anyway.

It really is that good.

[1] I'm sick of references to Portal in reviews too. But I'm also lazy :P
[2] Yes, I did complete it. It's called research D:

Excellent review, and congrats on 9000 posts!

I'm still on Veni, Vidi, Vici... *grumbles* but I will defeat it.

BlueInkAlchemist:
Excellent review, and congrats on 9000 posts!

I'm still on Veni, Vidi, Vici... *grumbles* but I will defeat it.

Thanks for commenting! I managed to do it after about an hour of trying and failing. And failing. And failing :P

At least I didn't land on the wrong side...

I remember VVVVVV. How could I forget Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Took me 4 hours, 800 deaths, and I landed on the wrong side TWICE.

My god that was frustrating.

Thank god the music was just amazing.

said it before man, great review! :D

Ah yes, I remember it well. Hell, I even made a thread about that mother fuckin' trinket.

Good review. :D

SUDDEN COMMENTS.

I will tailor each response individually!

Leole:
I remember VVVVVV. How could I forget Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Took me 4 hours, 800 deaths, and I landed on the wrong side TWICE.

My god that was frustrating.

Thank god the music was just amazing.

http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/ae33/SirBryghtside/VeniVidiVici.png?t=1302039446

*trollface*

Outright Villainy:
Ah yes, I remember it well. Hell, I even made a thread about that mother fuckin' trinket.

Good review. :D

http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/ae33/SirBryghtside/VeniVidiVici.png?t=1302039446

*trollface*

domble:
said it before man, great review! :D

Have you bought it yet? :P

By the way, that screenie took me about 20 attempts to get perfect. Landed on the right hand side twice, but couldn't take the trinket XD

 

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